'Awesome' Waitaki district councillor Ross McRobie dies

Waitaki district councillor Ross McRobie loved Otematata and spent a lot of his down time...
Waitaki district councillor Ross McRobie loved Otematata and spent a lot of his down time enjoying the outdoors with his family. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE
The Waitaki District Council flag is flying at half-mast today, as a sign of mourning and respect for Ahuriri ward councillor Ross McRobie.

The Otematata-based councillor was diagnosed with cancer this year, and started treatment about three weeks ago.

He died last night, after spending much of the past week with his wife and children at his side. He was 70.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said Mr McRobie had been an ‘‘awesome councillor’’ for the Ahuriri ward and the Waitaki district.

‘‘I know that my fellow elected members and the many staff who knew Ross will truly miss his analytical decision-making, his energetic personality and the great banter he brought with him,’’ Mr Kircher said.

‘‘We will miss Ross greatly as a councillor but more importantly, as a friend. I’ve known Ross for more than a decade and always enjoyed his company, as I know many others have also.

‘‘Our thoughts are with his family, to whom we are grateful for sharing Ross with us over the years.’’

Mr McRobie was elected to the Waitaki District Council’s Ahuriri ward unopposed in 2019, after he moved permanently to Otematata, where he and his wife Petrea had long had a holiday home.

He had previously served as a Queenstown-Lakes district councillor and member of the Wanaka Community Board.

Mr McRobie was a chartered accountant for more than 30 years, an accredited chartered member of the NZ Institute of Directors, and a business coach and mentor.

Last year, he started working as a real estate agent for Property Brokers.

Mr McRobie served on the Otago Community Trust for nine years, and had been recently elected as chairman of the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark Trust.

He held a number of governance roles with organisations including the New Zealand Film Commission, New Zealand on Air, Snow Sports NZ and Warbirds over Wanaka. Ross was a previous chair of Lake Wanaka Tourism and Wanaka Wastebusters.

He also had worked in radio.

Shining star, says Queenstown mayor 

Queenstown Lakes District mayor Jim Boult paid tribute to Mc McRobie today, saying he was a hard-working public servant and much respected person.

“This very sad news has shaken me, as Ross has always been full of life and a picture of health. He was a shining star in our previous council - honest, frank, not afraid to speak his mind and very committed to the best interests of the district.

"Very deservedly, Ross will be remembered as a man of great mana. He was an excellent Councillor and a very good friend. I will miss his positive outlook and enthusiasm for life greatly.

“Our thoughts are with Ross’s friends and family, especially his wife Petrea, at this sad time."

Mr McRobie was elected to the Wanaka Community Board (WCB) in 2013 and then to the Queenstown Lakes District Council in 2016. He represented the district as a Wanaka ward Councillor and WCB member until the 2019 local elections when he moved to Otematata.

During his time at QLDC, Mr McRobie became chair of the Audit, Finance and Risk Committee and was a member of the Planning and Strategy, Chief Executive’s Performance Review and Infrastructure committees.

He was also the council representative to Lake Wanaka Tourism and was appointed chair of the 2018-2028 Ten Year Plan steering group.

On leaving the QLDC, Mr McRobie had said the work of the steering group was his proudest achievement, noting it would be truly transformational for the district and its residents.

 

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